Should Young Athlete’s be lifting Heavy? Strength Training Myths

Should Young Athlete’s be lifting Heavy? Strength Training Myths
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You often hear parents and some coaches telling their children that they are too young to start strength training, or they have no idea what age they can start lifting and still be safe from injuries or growth issues. The truth is, young children can definately strength train. Done properly, strength training offers many bonuses to young atheltes. Strength training is even a good idia for young atheltes who want to look, feel , and play better. They will gain confidence, and a great self esteem boost simply from putting in the hard work and seeing the results in their bodies.

Strength training offers kid athletes many benefits.

As mentioned above, strength training isn’t just for added muscle, speed, and coordination. It can be used to increase the self esteem and happiness of a young child. If your child struggles with their weight or has that cute baby fat, but it really bothers them and causes them to be embarrassed then we highly recommend a strength program or CrossFit program to raise their spirits. Not only will they learn how it feels to be strong, but they will learn work ethic, and to never give up.

Strength training, not weightlifting

When starting your child in a strength training program it is important to remember that children and even some teens may lack the coordination it takes to complete certain lifts safely. This is why you should never encourage them doing max weight gains on lifts. For example, you would never ask a 10 year old to do a 1 rep max overhead squat. This is already a more advanced lift and with heavy weight and trying to reach a failure point it could have higher opportunity for injury.

Don’t confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven’t yet turned to bone (growth plates) — especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.

For kids, what are the benefits of strength training?

Done properly, strength training can:

  • Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
  • Improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer

Keep in mind that strength training isn’t only for athletes. Even if your child isn’t interested in sports, strength training can:

  • Strengthen your child’s bones
  • Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Help your child maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem

If you are interested or would like to know where to start, we offer daily workouts for athletes and will be incorporating CrossFit kids workouts into our website. For those of you under 13 it is important to do CrossFit kids workouts. Thanks for reading!

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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins